“YPN5Q” is a weekly Q&A series spotlighting the state’s top young business and civic leaders and creative minds — professionals propelling change through entrepreneurship, the arts, public service, social media, and community involvement. This week, we hear from technology wizard Meghan Wilker, managing director of Clockwork Active Media Systems in Minneapolis.
Wilker has a passion for interactive project management, strategy, information architecture and usability analysis. She enjoys teaching non-technical audiences about how to use technology to make their lives easier, build their business and make meaningful connections.
In 2008, along with Nancy Lyons, Wilker founded Geek Girls Guide, a place to publish their perspective on the interactive industry and demystify technology for non-technical audiences.
Wilker is a contributing writer for GTD Times (Getting Things Done Times) and was named a “Woman to Watch” in 2009 by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.
Name: Meghan Wilker
Residence: Golden Valley
Current job title: VP, Managing Director
Current employer: Clockwork Active Media Systems
1. In grade school, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An astronaut. My mom made me a Sally Ride costume one year — it was amazing.
2. What’s the most challenging aspect of your current job?
For me, the challenge isn’t the work itself, it’s figuring out when my work is done.
It’s a problem for all so-called “knowledge workers” (or what Richard Florida calls “The Creative Class”). We are paid to think all day. There’s no end to the work, no factory whistle telling us when to stop and start.
I could literally sit in front of my computer for 48 hours straight and not be “done.”
So, my challenge is deciding what my job is each day, and when I’m finished.
It’s extra tricky for me because my work is online, further blurring the line between my work life and personal life — digital devices are my connection to my job, but also to socializing, recreation and relaxation.
3. How do you maintain balance in your life?
This question seems to be based on an outdated idea that work is subtractive and personal life is additive and to remain sane we have to “balance” the two.
Maybe because I’ve been incredibly lucky to stumble into my dream job, I reject that notion.
I have goals and values and I have to spend the limited resource of my time pursuing those things. But pursuing one doesn’t exclude the other.
Here’s a good example: one of my goals is to be a good parent. The best way for me to fulfill that goal is both by spending time with my children, and by working. Being at work doesn’t mean I’m neglecting my personal life — for me, part of being a good parent is earning the money to feed and clothe my kids. So, by working I’m contributing to my personal life.
Conversely, I often have my best ideas when I’m not doing anything related to work — so by engaging fully in my personal life I contribute value to my work life.
I think we’re moving toward a time where most companies understand and value this relationship and stop expecting people to be at their desk from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and that makes me happy.
I think people are more satisfied and companies get more value out of a more fluid relations between our work and personal lives. They’re really one in the same.
4. What’s your greatest regret?
Not going to prom.
5. What’s on your bucket list?
Most of my bucket list items relate to travel; I’d like to literally see the world.
I’d also like to pass the President’s Physical Fitness Test someday.
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